The Rams’ first season back in Los Angeles was difficult. After a solid 3-1 start, the team’s fortunes quickly went south and stumbled to a 4-12 finish. Rumors of tension between the front office and coaching staff appeared in the news. Public disputes between legendary Rams alumni and the coaching staff made headlines in the local and national media. Could the overexposure of reality television have contributed to a debacle of a 2016 season?
Last season, HBO’s Hard Knocks featured the Los Angeles Rams and their first preseason training camp back in Southern California after a 22-year absence. While it did humanize the Rams players and coaching staff as they entered their first season back in Los Angeles, it seems like it provided the first of many unnecessary distractions for players and coaches. It felt like former head coach Jeff Fisher was talking more to the television cameras than how to execute a gameplan with the players. His attitude seemed more like a theatrical act instead of leadership of a professional football team. The lack of leadership showed quickly with rookie quarterback Jared Goff and second-year running back Todd Gurley, who both looked lost in the L.A. lights.
Amazon’s “All or Nothing” reality series continued what HBO’s Hard Knocks started. The cameras followed players and staff around for the regular season as the losses piled up. When Fisher gave his infamous “I’m no longer your head coach” speech after being fired, I got the sense that the impression that this was a tribute to “Keeping up with the Kardashians. The Rams looked overwhelmed last season, but the cameras following them exposed the truth: the team was not concentrating fully on football.
Enough of the reality drama. Instead, I hope the Rams move forward this year under new, revitalized leadership focus on football and begin to win on the football field. After all, nothing brings stardom and exposure more than success. If the Rams can return to the winning ways of the 1970s, they won’t need the television cameras to be famous.
Sources: Jeremy Bergman, NFL.com, Alden Gonzalez, ESPN.com, Tanya Ray Fox, USA Today/RamsWire
Martin Cruz is a staff writer for Rams Talk. You can find him on Twitter with the username @MCruz1988